At best, this afternoon’s game is the fourth-most important thing going on in Yankees camp today. And today is a Red Sox game!
Ichiro Suzuki was in a car accident yesterday, Andy Pettitte threw his first simulated game this morning, and Phil Hughes played catch for the first time in two weeks. It’s a busy day, and that’s before making a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Fort Myers.
Let’s start with the story that’s probably most alarming, but also seems to have the smallest impact.
Ichiro was driving home after yesterday’s game. He was heading south on Dale Mabry — the road directly in front of Steinbrenner Field — and when he got to the busy intersection at Kennedy Boulevard. Another car turned left in front of Ichiro, who said he slammed on the brakes but didn’t have time to stop. The impact was enough to total Ichiro’s car, and Ichiro joked that he now knows for certain that airbags do exist, but Ichiro himself was perfectly fine.
“Not (hurt) at all,” he said. “I almost want my body to feel like I got hit or something, but my body just didn’t react, I guess. Nothing.”
Ichiro called his translator, Allen Turner, who got to the scene of the accident to help deal with police. The damage was to the front of Ichiro’s SUV, mostly toward the driver’s side. Ichiro said the woman who hit him didn’t recognize him.
“Very thankful that everybody was OK,” Ichiro said. “She was very distraught and very apologetic from the beginning. Really shook up a little bit, but she was OK.”
Ichiro said he’ll see a doctor after today’s workout, but there’s very little concern. Girardi said he expects Ichiro to play on Tuesday.
Here’s a story I didn’t know:
“When I was in high school, I was on a bicycle and got hit by a car,” Ichiro said. “Ever since then, I’ve been really aware and really careful to the point where I look everywhere. As a driver I’m very careful and very aware of the situation. I’m probably the worst backseat driver because I see everything and I tell the driver, ‘Be careful,’ a lot. So I’m a very careful driver.”
• Pettitte threw his first simulated game of the spring. He faced Matt Diaz and Francisco Arcia for two “innings” and reported no problems. In fact, Pettitte seems extremely optimistic. He said his next outing will probably be another simulated game, but he said he’s grown to actually like — and sometimes prefer — sim games instead of regular spring training games. He’s not sure how many games he’ll get in this spring. “Whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be plenty good for me,” he said.
• Mariano Rivera also threw a simulated game, another one-inning outing, also against Diaz and Arcia. This was Rivera’s second sim game of the spring.
• Funny moment from this morning: Diaz broke a bat against Pettitte. “Damn you,” Diaz said as he walked away. “I only brought two, and Mariano hasn’t even thrown yet.”
• Hughes played catch with Triple-A pitching coach Scott Aldred. It was 25 throws from 60 feet, literally nothing more intense than what you or I might do in the back yard, but it’s a step forward for Hughes. “Good, great, no issues,” Hughes said. He’ll play catch again tomorrow. Still not sure when he’ll get on a mound.
• By the way, when asked to rank his current back pain from 1 to 10, Hughes responded, “Zero.”
• Slade Heathcott is wearing a small brace on his right wrist. He said he felt fine after his outfield collision with Ronnier Mustelier, but his wrist was a little swollen the next day and it bothered him during during batting practice. That’s when he told the staff and went for an MRI that came back clean. He expects to start swinging a bat again on Tuesday. “I’m not really that worried about it,” Heathcott said. “It feels night and day different than it did the other day. Doesn’t really bother me. I have all my strength back.”
• Boone Logan said he’s had a “little annoying thing” in his elbow for a while now. Never any pain, and his arm strength is good, but it was bothering him. He had it checked out and an MRI revealed nothing but inflammation. He expects to be back on a mound by the middle of next week.
• Greg Bird has been reassigned to minor league camp. He said he’s been dealing with a minor lat issue, but he doesn’t expect it to be a significant problem. Might simply have to rest for a day or two when he gets to the minor league complex.
• Cody Eppley, Vidal Nuno, Dave Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and CC Sabathia were scheduled to throw sides today. I saw Sabathia and Eppley after theirs, but the rest were going on while I was watching Rivera and Pettitte. I haven’t heard that anyone had any trouble.
• Matt Tracy also threw a simulated game today.
• Today’s second string: C Austin Romine, 1B Luke Murton, 2B Jose Pirela, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Rob Segedin, LF Ronnier Mustelier, CF Adonis Garcia, RF Tyler Austin, DH J.R. Murphy
• Today’s scheduled relievers: Jose Ramirez, Chase Whitley, Preston Claiborne, Juan Cedeno, Josh Spence, Kelvin Perez and Branden Pinder. Hard to believe all of those guys will actually get in the game, but all of them were listed.
• Just an FYI, I’m definitely not going to get to Fort Myers in time for the start of today’s game. At this point, I’m just hoping I can still get there by the time it ends and Girardi talks. Way too much going on here in Tampa to rush down there.
Associated Press photo of Ichiro, cell phone photo of Pettitte